Online Marketing for Beginners: Your Fundamental SEO Guide for 2018

SEO Guide

Why do you need this SEO Guide for 2018?

Every year Google evolves their algorithm—and those of us who engage in online marketing have no choice but to adapt if ranking, conversion rates, and sales are to be continually improved.

But keeping up with all these changing trends can be disorientating. Added to that, there are so many conflicting theories and ideas on how to do SEO correctly.

If you’re looking for a 2018 updated refresher course on how to conduct your SEO throughout this year and beyond, then you’ve stumbled upon the right SEO Guide. I’ll show you the fundamental basics of SEO according to Google’s best practices.

Let’s begin!

 

Know How to Leverage Keywords

‘Keywords’ is usually the first word that comes to mind when most people think about search engine optimization and they should certainly be included in every SEO guide. But knowing how to use them is key. Leveraging keywords in such a way that benefits the competition and volume of that keyword will give the best results.

Sound a little confusing? Here, let me break it down for you.

  • Keywords have two major characteristics: their volume and their competitiveness.
  • Volume refers to the amount of time a specific keyword or phrase is searched by online users.
  • Competitiveness refers to the amount of times other companies are using those search terms in their own optimized content.

 

What you want to do is find keywords that have a low competitiveness, but are still searched often enough to give you a fighting chance on search terms. The only way to do this is to carefully analyze a long list of keywords related to your niche and pick out five to ten that are well balanced between volume & competitiveness.

5 Keyword Tools to help you find the best ones:

1. Google Keyword Planner – Search for keyword ideas based on terms that are relevant to your product or services, your landing page or different product categories.

2. Keyword Finder – Keyword Finder is a research tool to help you find hundreds of long-tail keywords with high search volume and low SEO difficulty/competition.

3. SEO Book – Explore more keywords with this handy little tool, which promotes itself as an alternative to the Google Keyword Planner.

4. Keyword Spy – Identify which keywords your competitors are targeting in ads and organic searches.

5. Uber Suggest – Simply enter your main topic or keyword into Uber Suggest and it will present you with a list of related keywords and phrases.

5 Critical places to add your Keywords:

It’s essential to include your keywords naturally, the days of spamming the search engines has long gone, put your readers first and ensure all your content makes sense and reads well.

There are some places on your website that carry more weight than others when it comes to optimisation and will have a far greater impact. We’ve listed the 5 most important places here:

  • Title Tags
  • Headings
  • Content
  • Image titles and alt text
  • URLs

 

Pay Attention to Mobile Search

Getting your website mobile friendly should be a top priority in 2018. Mobile web use is increasing every year, and as a result of more searches now being made via mobile, Google is currently switching to a mobile-first index. Google will then determine rankings based on the quality of the mobile version of the site ahead of that of the desktop version.

Using apps, plugins and themes that are conducive to mobile search is a must for increased exposure.

There are several ways to do this. For instance, Google has launched a plugin that speeds up your mobile page download time. It’s called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This plugin is not without its problems, but it is a good way to boost your visibility—even if it’s just temporary.

Websites that already have responsive web design and implement dynamic serving don’t usually have to do anything to be ready

Is your site mobile ready? Check using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

Engage in Actively Building Your Online Authority

The internet is a community. To tap into that community (consisting of billions of users) you must communicate your message across multiple channels across the web.

Making an appearance on other websites just makes good business sense from two angles. First, it helps you get more exposure from the audiences that others have built up. Second, it’s seen by Google’s algorithm as a high relevancy factor.

What am I talking about?

Link building! It’s the highest ranking factor in SEO and continues to dominate the world of online marketing.

To do link building successfully, you need content. Content for your website, and guest content with links to your own site to post on other sites that you’re affiliated with.

 

Get Your Content Up to Scratch

An SEO Guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning content! Those of you who know me will know that I’m a big believer in providing incredibly useful content for your audience. Simply pumping out content for your website blog for the sake of appeasing Google is completely missing the point.

Blogging has become somewhat of a framework on the internet. Make sure you have loads of helpful, engaging content for your visitors to read, search for and refer to.

For your content marketing to be truly effective you should think about the issues and challenges your potential audience is facing and provide the answers they are looking for. This will set you up as an authority in your niche and pave the way for a greater flow of clients.

 

Be Involved in Your Social Media

Being on social media isn’t enough to leverage it to its full potential. There must be constant activity. And although you can automate much of your social media obligations, you still need to stay involved in the process.

Why? Because people want to feel heard by your company and the people who manage it.

Boosting your SEO with this goal in mind is achievable, but only with consistency and involvement:

  • First, choose two or three social media channels that work well with your particular industry.
  • Clearly define your brand identity and remain consistent – own your brand’s look and feel across all your social platforms
  • Post on your channels regularly and provide your audience with real value
  • Learn about what makes a content sharable on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Actively engage your audience (as a person) and ask them questions to encourage engagement.

 

Avoid Bad SEO Practices

Maintaining a healthy SEO strategy also means avoiding some things. There are four things I always tell people to never do, so I’ve included them in this SEO Guide.

Keyword Stuffing

Google hates it when you stuff a bunch of keywords into a small space of content. This is known as keyword stuffing, and it’s still just as frowned upon as it has been for over a decade.

Poor Site Maintenance

You can’t just leave those error pages and hope they’ll go away. Keep checking your site for pages that don’t deliver any value. If you have a WordPress site use Yoast to check for broken links within your content. Read a few articles and check for grammar errors or information that may have changed.

When you’re done with your site maintenance, be sure to resubmit your website to Google so that it can be crawled and re-ranked.

Black Hat Link Building

There are tons of people offering freelance link building services for a cheap price. They promise up to 200+ links. Stay away from deals like this. These individuals simply copy and paste comments with links in random blogs. These links are irrelevant, and if Google finds them you’ll be penalized.

Creating and Publishing Low-Quality Content

Having low-quality content will impact on your website’s quality score and negatively affect your ranking results. Ensure that your website contains only high-quality content, not just for Google, your audience will also thank you, and you should see an improvement in your conversion rates and sales.

Follow the information in this SEO Guide and keep up these practices and you’ll be in good standing with Google during 2018 and beyond.

If you found this SEO Guide helpful, we’d love it if you could share it – thank you.


Thank you to SEO expert Hazel Jarrett of SEO+ for writing this blog for us. Hazel is a well-respected, slightly geeky, social SEO expert with a track record for brilliant results. Hazel, the driving force of SEO+, believes in total transparency, she’s always on top of SEO news and has an enviable track record of implementing proven, ethical SEO strategies that work.


For more information about SEO in your online marketing, simply give us a call on 01752 393261 or book a complimentary discovery session here.

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Hazel Jarrett: SEO Consultant and founder of SEO+. Passionate about Search Engine Optimisation and helping UK business owners drive more website clicks, quality enquires, and sales through SEO.
With nearly two decades in search, she is one of the UK’s leading SEO specialists and often anticipates the future of search. She shares SEO information, expert advice, tips, tactics and ‘how to guides’ on her SEO blog.
Follow Hazel on Twitter (@SEOPlusMore), Facebook and Google+

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